In what could be described as a formal endorsement, the former military President, Ibrahim Babangida, has urged women and youths in the country to cue behind the Chief Olu Falae-led Social Democratic Party (SPD) for the 2019 general election.
General Babangida made call in Minna, at the weekend, when the national leadership of the party, led by the its national chairman, Chief Olu Falae, visited him at his hill-top mansion in Minna.
He said: “If I hadn’t been too old, I would have loved to join the youths vanguard of your party. I have faith in the political party, for what it is and what it stands for.
“When I heard in the news, that a party has come on board, the first thing that occurred to me was that the name sounded familiar, so, I decided to wait and see how it plays out. I was looking at how SDP will populate itself. And, then, the next pleasing thing I heard was that it has people like Olu Falae, Professor Jerry Gana and Professor Adeniran. After that, I said this party is real, because most of the names are names I’ve known and worked with for the sake of this country, so, I said the party is smart to have convinced all these gentlemen to come and join it.
“That was why I did not hesitate to recommend the party to those who came me to seek advice on which direction to go.”
Babangida said the vision he had for the country is the same vision that is shared by those driving the party, adding that, “the security and well being of Nigerians is very important, and you have identified this in your programme, so, Nigerians must support you to ensure that this is realisable.
“I know it can be done, I have never said this to any political party before, but, I can tell you that the party has people who have contributed a lot to this country, people whose contributions to Nigeria is legendary, and what you have put ahead of you is what this country needs.
“I remember when Jerry Gana was the Chairman of Mass Mobilisation for Self Reliance, Social Justice, and Economic Recovery (MAMSER), one of the primary things he was doing was to educate the ordinary people. The level of awareness then was not as high as it is now, so, you should take advantage of the digital age now and pass a lot of information to the young men and women of this country, because they form over 65 per cent of the population, and if you succeed in doing that, I think it will be better for this country.
Babangida called on the younger generation, including the Nigerian women, to rally behind SDP because it is populated by men of integrity, “men who, when they work, they work well, when they speak, they speak well.”
While emphasising on the importance of security for the overall development of the country, he congratulated Chief Falae, for coming out of the kidnappers den alive.
“I want say that God has kept you for a purpose. You now know how important security is because you were kidnapped. You must remain firm in this project because the country has a lot to benefit from you.
“The people are willing and ready to follow whoever is going to lead them aright, and I am sure your leadership of the party is going to do that.”
Babangida advised the leadership of the party to, as a matter of necessity, make its manifestos public, so that they can be hold accountable.
Earlier, Falae told General Babangida that the leadership of the SDP were in his house as part of their nationwide consultations, to brief him on the activities of the party, and to equally solicit his support and wise counseling.